Home Alone and the Fruits of Life

Should I be broadcasting that fact to the Whole Wide World, or the World-Wide-Web, as this case may be?

Don’t get any bright ideas of finding me alone, really.  A couple of protective dogs, Smith & Wesson, Remington, a hen, and an attack rooster keep me company while I type.

With my family off to Disney on a long-planned Mardi Gras vacation (and everyone else around here parading), this should be a vacation for me, yet I found myself in the teen boys’ bedroom, aghast at what I discovered there.  I debated about taking photos of the the unidentifiable things I found under the beds and in the closet while cleaning earlier.  Then, I thought better of it.

We’ve only been in this house about 19 months, and that room looks like it’s been occupied for a decade, and maybe not thoroughly cleaned in the same amount of time.  Trying hard not to blame myself for letting things get so bad, millions of random thoughts about where my priorities lie run through my head.

So, I laid aside the dustmop, pushed aside the overflowing trashcan, overwhelmed to the point that I’d rather write about the filthiness of that room than face the cleaning of the same.

While sweeping up the huge pile of dirt, dust, and dog hair into the dust pan, I asked myself another question,

“Would I rather be doing one thing really well, doing a few things halfway, or just living life according to priorities?”

Priorities.  That’s a good Blanket word.

My next thought, we have but one life to live on this earth.  How should I finish out my time here? What really matters in life?  Perfectly painted walls, with not a scratch on them?  Dust free surfaces, where no on can write their names with their fingers?

Life has never been about status and money for me, although I admit a shortage of it can make life miserable, unbearable, and anxiety filled.

If not the pursuit of money, then what is it that should fill my days?

Making a difference–maybe a difference in my children’s lives by homeschooling them until it was time to launch them off into the world of their own?  Like college for Dotter; or getting a GED before trying college like Daboo; or a small private high school like Danno; or public middle school and high school like J. and Termite until they graduate?

Now that they are all well on their prospective paths in life, what will I do to make a difference?  With no grandchildren yet to influence (read: spoil), what should I really be doing with my time?

Upon reflection, life appears to me like a tree bearing a variety of fruit–some withering on the vine, some rotten and fallen to the ground, others ready to be picked, and others still green, not quite ripe.  And then there are the buds.  The blossoms of possibility, just sprouting at the ends of the branches.

Maybe my time home alone would be better spent being still and quiet, meditating on the fruits ready to be picked, the not-quite-ripe, and the blossoms of hope, fighting the urge to regret the fruit that died on the vine, not weeping over the rotten fruit that is gone forever.  Their lives were not for naught, for in their death, they provided fertilizer for the ground and food for the smaller things living there, subsurface.

So with this post, I’m giving myself permission to forget about the hole in the sheetrock, the furniture scratches on the wall, and the fuzz balls flying on the fan blades–focusing instead on the trees that will bear the best fruit, cultivating them, and seeing them to fruition.

What I reap will, hopefully, be much more abundant than even I could ever dream or imagine.

Alone but not abandoned,


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  1. Wonderful post, BW! So many intriguing questions to reflect upon and realize how much your life has, is, and will continue to change over the years. I’ve long ago given up on the perfectly cleaned home, and found just making sure it’s not a candidate for the health inspectors, is much more desirable in being free to pursue the new avenues the Lord opens for me! I would, though, encourage you to get J and S to clean their rooms themselves! 🙂 xx

    1. Your last statement was my afterthought exactly!!! This job is too big for one woman! And a can of paint and rollers are in their near future, too! Thanks, Vance 🙂

  2. I am sticking to Termite on this so I hope he has a great story of explaining to do. I cleaned under the bed awhile back. When was 2006 anyway….

  3. what a wondeful post so well worded and written… this article has promted me to take a step back and do some self anaylsis..thank you so much and im so glad i came across your site….Your neighbor from the “river parishes”….happy mardi gras!!!.

    1. I’m so glad that you were inspired by some of my random thoughts! It’s just that sometimes, I meet myself coming and going and I have to stop and ask myself why? and what for? So, welcome to my new neighbor from the “river parishes”. How did you find this blog?

      1. Hello..Well i was looking for a good shrimp stew recipie and came across your site with your wonderful illustrations….and ive been coming back ever since…Next on my list is the Shrimp Boulette and your corn dip….

        1. Oh gosh yes!! The shrimp stew!! And then you asked how to find my recipes! I apologize. I remember you now!!!! So sorry! Thanks for hanging around, Jamie. It’s great to have someone from the river parishes reading. Which one are you from?

      1. Im so glad you got to enjoy a little piece of our tradition!!!! it is a remarkable experience….Thanks for coming down!!!!

  4. So many people equate being alone with being lonely. For me, nothing could be farther from the truth. As someone who spends many hours alone up on a mountain in the northern Rockies, I relish my time alone. I write, reflect, review goals, and enjoy the quiet serenity of God’s beautiful world. Just today, I was visited by a family of 11 wild turkeys, and there are at least 8 whitetail deer milling around the barn.

    Add in two cats who don’t like other (for excitement) and two beautiful, big golden retrievers (one my son’s and one my BFF) for fun, protection, and cuddling, and how can I even say I’m alone?

    It is in these moments alone that I look out upon the mountains and valley below and wonder how anyone could doubt the existence of a benevolent God.

  5. Life is like a reflection in a tranquil pool but, one tiny ripple and it changes completely. I learned a long time ago to take it one day at a time. I used to come home from a long day at work and begin to clean the floors, dust the furniture, cook, laundry, etc. It was an everyday job even with the kids helping some and then after they moved away I still did it all until the doctor said “stop and smell the roses before they go away or you can’t”. Love that doctor! Now, I dust a couple of times a week, do the kitchen floors daily, the others every 2-3 days, laundry a couple of times a week and if there are a few leaves tracked in, I don’t sweat it.

    As for the kids rooms, I gave them 3 chances to clean them up after a few weeks of non-cleaning and then I did it. Only had to do it a couple of times and they got the message of “it was in the floor so I trashed it”. Their excuse for stuff under the bed was “school science experiments”! Yeah, right!

    ps: I found out from my daughter that she now does the same to her 5 boys when it is time to clean their rooms. Hee Hee.

    1. I used the trash bag trick on my older boys, but this last one has not been properly trained. I admit it. My fault. He has just not grown up in the same environment . . . ripples in the pool as you say. And you still dust 3x a week? Hm. Once a month would be great around here! I feel shame setting in . . . . . : )

      1. I have to dust that often. Our house is about 100 yrs old and the road about 15′ beside it was white rock for over 90 of those years! I dust before 2pm and you can’t tell it by bed time. 🙂 So, 3 times a week is not that often actually.

        1. Ah yes, I remember now that you mentioned that lovely dusty road before! We have so much dust here, 12 feet in the air, and I can’t for the life of me figure out why? Could it be 3 animals in the house? We don’t even live that close to the road any more. There’s not much grass, and a lot of bare dirt, so that doesn’t help. But I am committed to changing the A/C filter more often and hopefully that will help. Please tell me that will help!!!

          1. I can’t tell you that it will help since we only have a window unit and it has a sensor that lights up when the filter needs washed. I think homes are magnets to dust.:(

  6. Thanks BW,
    amazing how the Lord will provide,I needed your post this morning,everything just seems to fit although my step-daughter did spend all day yesterday cleaning the house for me except for the pig pen I call a office,thats a chore that only I can do.

    1. The Lord is good like that!!! Yay for having a daughter who is willing to help! Yep, I can totally relate to the office thing. Nobdy better touch one thing in my office space!!!

  7. Here’s my rule about dust. You can write your name in it, but if you add a date, you’re off the guest list!

    I’m right there with you re: the questions of “Now what?” I’m quite aware that I have maybe twenty good years left. Maybe more, maybe less, but in any event – that’s no time at all. What am I going to do with it?

    For example: lots of people tell me I “should” write a book. Since I have to keep working, that’s going to be a long project, even if I were inspired to do so. Would I want to spend two or five or ten years writing and marketing a book that might not even get published? No. Absolutely not. I’d rather hop in the car, do some traveling, and blog about it.

    I do have to laugh at the housekeeping discussion, though. About three weeks ago I got a call from friends I haven’t seen in years. They were traveling through, and thought they’d stop and visit if I were going to be around. As the kids say, OMG. I took two full days off work to do the real cleaning that hasn’t been done around here in forever. When I saw the top of the refrigerator, I nearly died.

    I’m going to be better about keeping up with such things. Really, I am.

  8. I hope you’ll enjoy your week alone! I know I always do. Do things you can’t do when you have everyone else to take care of. I wouldn’t be cleaning house! 🙂 Do what your heart desires.

    1. Well, Kim, I got on the water yesterday (and it’s supposed to rain rest of the week) on a tour with two refreshing young women (sisters) from Homer, Alaska! I might get that trip to Alaska you and Sam recommended I take some time this summer. I’ll save the details about them because I want to do a blog post. I have to save my tip money to go!!! Well, I can’t go through their closets while they are here . . . and it needs to be done. I’m spreading it out over days and not doing a marathon. The junk is just overwhelming! Should have gotten rid of all this stuff before we moved in here. My, how it reproduces in the closet when no one’s watching!!!

  9. I love your analogy of the fruit tree. So perfect. I’m happy to hear you’re taking time for yourself. It’s similar to when you have a baby….nap when they do. Your “nap” time is now, while they’re away having their own fun.

    As far as the room cleaning goes, clean the closet if you must. Otherwise, I agree with Cammy. My parents used the same technique. Give them warning to clean it or else you’ll do it. What’s on the floor must be trash so in the trash it goes. That worked with me and I, in-turn, used it with my two sons.

    Have a joyous time whatever you do. Even inactivity is time well spent.

    1. Cuz, we all know the mom usually sets the tone for the household. My attention has been spread so thinly, everywhere but home, it seems. As a result, I have not exhibited enough pride in our new home, and that set the tone for everyone else. I thought just being in this shiny new house would foster that pride and caring; but I was wrong. So, by having things all neat and organized and clean when they get home, I’m hoping to instill to stay on top of this until Termite gets the idea that his space needs to be better kept. It’s all about dynamics!! I’ve gotten myself in gear, now they have to fall in line!

  10. The late eldest brother had a 30 day rule. You do not use something for 30 days it is gone. I think he used this for everything except canning equipment and coats. He did filter a lot of stuff back and forth to thrift shop though…

    I got tons of stuff…. I need to use community center for a sporting goods sale….

  11. I used to just shut the kids doors… for about a month. Then they couldn’t come out of their rooms (except for meals, school or church) no tv or telephone calls till they were cleaned to my satisfaction. Sometimes it would take them a few days. After about the 3rd time, they got the message. I just didn’t want them smelling like a locker room. I could take messy, but not dirty. I also hung a sign in their bathroom that said “Please excuse the mess, the Three Little Pigs live here”. They wanted to take it down when we had a party with 150 guest. Hubby and I wouldn’t let them. The bathroom was clean that day, but the guest got to see the sign anyway. I learned later on at least 4 guest made signs too. Just how hard is it to put the cap on the toothpaste and put their tooth brushes away?
    Hand over the cleaning supplies to them!
    Enjoy the quiet while you can, you’ve earned it.

    1. Ha, Steffi! Termite has been grounded for three weeks (prior to this week off) and that’s part of the problem. All his time is spent in his room and he doesn’t care if it’s clean or dirty!!! But all that is about to change when they get back from Disney. It’s really my fault for letting things go for so long and not setting the tone in this house and demanding more from him/them!!! I got this!!! (I think!)

  12. I followed the advice of everyone today. I came home from my volunteer work exhausted. I quickly put my groceries away, fixed a sandwich, tossed a load in the washer and grabbed a book and a coke and hit the porch swing! I spent an absolutely wonderful hour sitting there with a gentle breeze blowing,listening to the flag popping on the pole and pondering life before the dryer buzzed. It really refreshed me.

    1. Now that, my friend, does sound divine! I took pause and started a book yesterday afternoon, myself! I wasn’t on the porch, though—too many biting gnats right now. I’m glad you enjoyed the breezes!!

  13. Those gnats are everywhere! Hubby was in Monroe and Ruston/Rustin (hope I spelled it right) today and he said it was nice and humid and something kept biting him.

  14. Natalies room is worse than Bryce’s. Of course the fact that her room has zebra print everything and hot pink, purple, lime green and yellow walls doesn’t help. I almost can’t go in there and come out without my retina’s throbbing. Bryce’s room is always scary because there is usually a hide or skin of something that I am never sure if the mother to the creature is still in the room or not. Gotta love the kids! Just don’t ever look under my bed….the dust bunny wars going on under there are probably epic!

  15. Just emptied fridge cause of smell, it was just purchased ribs for grill.
    I got hosed on these rotton bones…. I’ll go complain later….

  16. Oh and I got bad news on the kumquats too. They are bad too.
    Thinking they were going bad by time I got them a bunch got black
    mold growing in 2 days. Oh well….
    Learning experience….